America is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, and our country’s corn refiners are hard at work to make sure our food supply chain remains strong. Additionally, they are taking extra steps to keep their employees safe.

Corn ingredients are used in many everyday products, including crucial medical supplies for our nation’s frontline workers.

Hand Sanitizer

America’s corn refiners continue to produce industrial alcohol on a daily basis to meet orders for the production of hand sanitizers or other health-related sanitizing products. In this process, cornstarch is converted to glucose and combined with yeast to produce ethanol, a main ingredient in many hand sanitizers. Our industry is also engaged with the federal government to understand guidance on alcohol used in hand sanitizers so that we can best respond to the critical need while ensuring the industrial alcohol for use in these products is safe.

Latex Medical Products

Healthcare workers are relying on latex medical gloves to protect themselves, and their patients, from contracting the coronavirus. Cornstarch is used as an anti-stick agent for medical gloves and other latex products that come in contact with skin.

Liquid Hand Soap

All the time, but especially during a virus outbreak, hand washing is essential to staying healthy. In many cases, one-quarter of soap’s ingredients are corn-based, including corn oil and products made from bioprocessing. For example, xanthan gum thickens and stabilizes soap.


Many of the pharmaceuticals doctors prescribe to patients contain corn products! Cornstarch is a key ingredient in cellulose acetate phthalate (CAP), which coats pills to ensure their structural integrity, ease of swallowing, & timed release of medicine inside.

Intravenous Solution

When admitted to the hospital, dehydrated patients are often given IV drips, many of which contain dextrose, a corn derivative. Dextrose helps regulate how much fluid the body absorbs, and depending on the type of solution, dextrose helps combat low blood sugar.

Medical Supplies Made from Corn-based Plastics

3D printers are being put to work around the world to make ventilator parts, filtration masks, face shields, and other personal protective equipment. Many of these 3D printers are using ink made from corn, known as polylactic acid (PLA).

Corn is nature’s renewable building block. It’s a versatile resource that plays a role in our everyday lives. It’s used in just about everything – food products, cosmetics, packaging, and essential medical supplies.

Learn about more products made using the Kernel of Innovation here.